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Darian, Sage of Lightning

Ruthless, yet kind

Darian Zhusha Kabila

This name is a Pestrib name. Therefore, the family name is the Zhusa, and the clan name is Kabila.
  Darian Zhusa's name is branded into the history of the Salt Plains. His life was like a lightning bolt: a blazing meteor, defined by the forging of two empires. But behind every lightning strike is a buildup of charge; behind every great general is a river of blood. This report will cover many sides of Darian: the brilliant strategist and poor judge of character, the brave general and the clumsy statesman, the builder of empires and destroyer of nations.  
A collaborative report between Pestrib and East Bay historians, aided by the records of the terraforming drones. Part of the Official Report on the Seven Sages.

Darian's Rise

Darian's name didn't just drop into the history books by birthright. It was the culmination of thousands of hours of concentrated effort.
— Trosulia speaking to historians
  During the early years of his life, Darian was shown to be an effective leader and engineer. He engaged in agricultural projects and linked the mountain tribes later to become the Salt Range Tribal Union. However, the troubling portions of his character also emerged: his closed-mindedness, his harsh discipline, and his seeming detachment from morals of any kind.  

Early Life

Not much is known about Darian's early existence. It has been stated by many legends that Darian was born during a thunderstorm. However, due to no corroborating reports, the historians have decided that this reference was likely mythical, although plausible.   He was born to the militia commander of the town, and worked in the fields just like any other person. By his ninth birthday, he had been apprenticed to a powerful tribal elder, and was tasked with overseeing agriculture in his small town. Thus, his first projects began. These were the first projects that drew the attention of the drone projects.

Linking the Towns

Darian didn't stop at just his own village, however. He began working on a way to connect his isolated tribe with other tribes nearby. By this stage, he was already shown to be mercilessly effective, disconcerting even his own elders. When the workers didn't give their all, or challenged his current plans, he was quick to dole out punishment.   The effects were immediate, though. Although several soldiers died during the route's construction, Darian had successfully constructed a path through one hundred and seventy kilometers of hanging swamps and towering mountains, connecting his midsize tribe with four other tribes.

Irrigating the Plains

A small town in the Salt Range has discovered a new type of crop. They have built a complex irrigation system. Interesting developments are occurring there. Surveillance has been set up.
— Trosulia
Darian took his job seriously. He knew that the town's current food supply was shaky due to the minimal arable land there was in the mountains. So he worked to find another, hardier crop that could grow on lands with little nutrients. He found his grain in the pasha bean. This bean had colonized the upper limits of the Salt Range, generally growing above the tree line. It grew rapidly, and could grow in suboptimal conditions.   Darian took the pasha bean and brought it back to his region of the mountain valley. He then started an intensive irrigation project. The river by his town flooded unpredictably, often drowning fields and causing famines. He ordered the construction of a network of dikes and trenches to irrigate more land while controlling the river's flow. His work was commended by the elders and noticed by the drones.

"Look, we agree that Darian was a great general. That is an objective fact. We just don't agree that he did much good in the world. Where were his morals? He worked his warriors like slaves: his mind wasn't open to new ideas. Where he conquered, he ruthlessly slaughtered opposition. He was arrogant as to his abilities."
"What, was that very wrong in that time period? Did Nora do much better, Pestrib Historian? It was a total war! You and your morals... you just hate Darian because he beat you!"
"I can't believe we're going to be working together for the next year."
Conversation between the lead historians

Darian's middle age was his most controversial. The difference depends on how you judge him, and what standards you judge him by. The Pestrib judge him on character and military actions, deciding he is a closed-minded sadist. The East Bay historians judge him on his civil actions, and the results he achieved. By this standard, he is legendarily effective.

Founding the Alliance

After the successful linking of the five mountain tribes, Darian's mind immediately began thinking about what the tribes together could do. His combined efforts went to the merger of the five tribes. Proud opposition leaders simply... disappeared. The treaty was signed by several elders of the five tribes, forming the first tribal union, the Salt Range Tribal Union.

Demoted, then Reinstated

Nora, however, did not just stand by and watch Darian increase military training. Instead, she sent spies into the Elder Council, to slander Darian. She also immediately began a last-ditch training of her own troops.   Combined with the complaints of many soldiers, this was enough to incite the Elder Council to force Darian to step down to the position of Left Wing Commander. At the same time, the Elder Council was impatient for material gains. They pushed the next commander, Ryn, to attack immediately.   Darian warned Ryn of the consequences. But Ryn pressed the attack, felling Yan and Hausi before being defeated at the Battle of the Salt Plains. The Battle of the Salt Plains was devastating to the Salt Range troops. A full half of their army either defected or was killed in action. Ryn's forces could not stop Nora as she pressed into the Salt Range. At this final point, Darian was reinstated as commander.

General of the Five Tribes

Darian next eyed the foothills of the Salt Range, containing much more fertile land than the Salt Range itself. However, there was a slight problem. Nora's Pestrib tribe also claimed the same region that he wanted.   Darian thus turned over the seat of Elder to his protégé, Ryn, and began working as the first General of the Five Tribes. With a few strings pulled in the Elder Council, he managed to approve the merger of the five militias and the construction of fortresses in strategic locations. Immediately, he went to work. The five Bastions began construction, slated for completion in twenty years.   In the meantime, Darian also decided to intensively train the troops that were in the newly-made military of the Salt Range. His harsh discipline alienated him to many an officer. However, this programme, combined with the temporary fortresses that were constructed, would have made the mountain rangers equal parts unstoppable force and immovable object. Other concerns intervened beforehand.

My emotions are like a fish when I hear Darian has been reinstated. On the one hand, I have finally met my match. Darian is more experienced and more clever as a commander than I am. On the other hand, I have five times his men, and numbers alone guarantee my victory. I cannot wait for the day where I destroy his Scarlet Pass Fortress, the day when his elders are slaughtered before his eyes, the day when I have him in chains.
  Darian immediately moved his troops in one iron fist against Nora. Nora, confident in her power in numbers, marched confidently towards the Scarlet Pass Tower, attempting to intercept fleeing Salt Range Tribal Union citizens.   However, Darian didn't believe in power of numbers. During his famous speech, the Cry of Darian, he rallied his troops forward. The subsequent Battle of the Scarlet Pass was Nora's first and last defeat. Darian, dealing Nora a heavy blow, ceded the lands south of the Scarlet Pass to Nora, while holding on to his northeastern fortresses. Nora, knowing that Darian could not deal any more damage to her forces, declared victory and secured the frontier.   Darian, after seeing so much bloodshed, decided to withdraw from the military after completing Darian's Line, his landmark fortress line blocking the East Bay Gate Coalition from being invaded. He was said to have lived the rest of his years peacefully as a monk. Today, he is a culture hero of the East Bay, and a villain in the west. However, both agree on what he says matters most. He was an effective commander.

Current Location
Scarlet Pass Fortress
Brown Halora
Circumstances of Birth
Born during a thunderstorm
Circumstances of Death
Dark brown

Darian's Myths

  Since Darian is a cultural hero of the East Gate peoples, there are many myths surrounding him, from his birth to his death. Listed below are three of the most prominent tales that were ascribed to Darian's person. Each has been evaluated for historicity.   The first, involving the Fates, is unlikely to have been made at the time, as Siege, the game the Fates were playing, was said to have been invented fifty years after Darian's death. The third, involving Darian's death, is said to have been a real myth, made after his death, but not a real historical event (due to the involvement of gods). The second is the most realistic, and could have actually occurred.  

Myth: The Chess Game

  When Darian was born, it was prophesied that Darian would die young. Darian's father, fearing for his son, consulted with a famous prophet of the time, after medicine man after medicine man turned away his child, fearing divine retribution. The prophet said just a few words to the child, words that would change the course of his life forever.  
You can go down the ridge, alone, through the hanging swamps. You will see two men playing the Meditation of the Siege. They will change your fate, for a price. That price... would be high. If you go, you will pay the price.
  However, Darian went anyways. He knew that whatever price there was, he would accept it instead of dying. He followed the instruction. The fates changed his numerals of death from 19 to 91. His price was said to have been the experience of peace, for Darian never saw anything but war for the rest of his life.

Myth: Paper Warfare

Ryn is said to have been a bright child, an overly bright one. Darian noted this and took her in as a protege. While a bright child she was, Darian warned the elders to have her experience government, but never to let her lead the army. The elders, curious, wondered why Darian thought this was the case, especially since she could beat Darian in hand-to-hand combat. Darian responded with a simple sentence that is the basis for the idiom "war on paper".  
She treats her men like a mother does her children. On a small scale, at the Swarm, that may work. But all her experience is with small units. She has experienced, on paper, ten thousand troops. But does she ever know what ten thousand men truly are?
— Darian
  Later, after Ryn was put in command, Darian extracted a promise, in secret, from the elders that neither he himself, Ryn, or Ryn's family would be punished if Ryn failed, due to the ample warnings he had given the elders. Darian then asked for command of Ryn's right wing, but even that was refused. He therefore retreated to the mountains for monkhood.   When Ryn did lose, and the armies of Nora were marching on the capital, the government tried to contact Darian in vain. It was not that Darian was disloyal, and more that he thought Nora's spycraft would fell him again. Eventually, Ryn climbed up Darian's mountain and sat outside Darian's window for three whole days before Darian was convinced to once again take up arms and command an army.

Myth: Meeting the Gods

It is said that when Darian finally lived to the age of 91, as a warrior-monk defending the southern frontier, that Kali finally approached him at the end of his life. Pitying Darian's curse never to see her peace, Kali asked him what he finally wanted in life. Darian's wish was simple, and Kali granted it instantaneously.  
When I was young, they said I would never see peace again, not in my lifetime. Soon, I took up arms against the Pestrib, and fought them: both when I had the advantage, and when I had miniscule forces. All my life was war. War and pain and hate and deception and violence. May I have peace?
  It is said, now, that he walks in the upper echelons of Kali's guard, and he judges those who have died valiantly in combat. It is said, now, that he watches the heroes as they fight, and more than one have claimed that he helped them in their moments of danger. It is said, that he watches over his blessed ancestral land: preaching peace, not war, love, not hate, trust, not deception.   All above are opinions of East Bay Historians: not approved by Pestrib Lead Historian.

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